Ten Contemporary Artists Explore the Legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois in the 21st Century


September 10 - December 8

Artists' Reception: September 27, 5-7:30PM (UMCA)

5:15-5:45PM: Performance - Brendan Fernandes with UMass Color Guard

6:00PM - Opening Remarks - State Senator Stan Rosenberg

Symposium: September 28, 9AM-5PM (Student Union Ballroom)


Fifty years after the death of W.E.B. Du Bois, the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) has commissioned ten leading artists from the U.S., Canada, and West Africa to reflect on the legacy of one of the most profound and influential African American
intellectuals of the 20th century. These new artworks by Radcliffe Bailey; Mary Evans; Brendan Fernandes; LaToya Ruby Frazier; Julie Mehretu; Ann Messner; Jefferson Pinder; Tim Rollins & KOS; and Mickalene Thomas offer an aesthetic contribution to the re‐
examination of Du Bois through today’s lens. 
The artists delved into the vast Du Bois archives at UMass Amherst for their research and consulted with Du Bois scholars both on and off campus as they conceived their works. This research‐based, socially engaged method is an innovative approach to exhibition
organization and artistic creation. The range of works in this exhibition is astounding – from photography, painting,
sculpture, and works on paper, to video, installations, as well as a proposal to create a memorial garden in honor of Du Bois. Some artists have been inspired by Du Bois’ poetic writing, his 1913 Star of Ethiopia pageant, some by his early anticipation of the women’s
rights and environmental movements, and his warnings against nuclear proliferation and other modern afflictions. Others have found inspiration in the groundwork he laid for movements in public dissent, while others show how the problems Du Bois wrote about a
century ago are still with us, and in certain cases are more urgent than ever. The artists’ contributions to this exhibition are all testaments to the inspiration and impact Du Bois has had on their lives and artistic practice. 
Another aspect of Du Bois’ life and career, his work as a founder of Pan‐Africanism, and his decision to move to Ghana at the age of 93, will be accented by the opening of a distinct but related exhibition, Du Bois in Our Time / Accra, in the West African nation’s
capital in March 2014 to coincide with their Independence Day. That exhibition will be presented by the Nubuke Foundation and the Du Bois Centre, both in Accra. 

Visit our website ― ― for:
Details about our September 28 Symposium; free and open to the public, and with online registration
Information about related lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings, and performances taking place at UMass Amherst and at various locations in Springfield, MADu Bois in Our Time is organized by UMCA Director Loretta Yarlow and Education Curator
Eva Fierst. 

Du Bois in Our Time and its related programs are generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and The Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne; with additional funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council; Art Angels (The Community Foundation of Western MA), and Mass Humanities. Support from the University of Massachusetts Amherst comes from: The Office of the Graduate Dean; The Office of the Provost; The W.E.B. Du Bois Library; The Interdisciplinary Studies Institute; The Office of International Programs; and Friends of the Fine Arts Center Residency Fund.

Press Release

Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Art Angels (Community Foundation of Western Mass)

UMass Class of 1961 Artists Residency Program

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries -- Special Collections and University Archives -- 
W.E. B. Du Bois Collection